Collingham & District Local History Society Newsletter

Irregular 1 has now sold out. Copies of 2 & 3 are still available at Gascoignes, Collingham Archives and at Collingham & District Local History Society events.

Black Sabbath Volume 4, Led Zeppelin IV and Foreigner 4 were bestselling and highly critically acclaimed albums. I won’t mention Beyonce 4, which was critically acclaimed, but is her lowest selling studio album to date at only 3.5 million. So, what about Irregular 4?

Our best yet? Yes, we think so! Over 180 ‘editorially acclaimed’ pages on a diverse range of local subjects, which include contributions from six writers, who will be new to our readers.

Anne Speed has contributed a surprising, personal and timely article based on her recent conversations with Dendle French, who sadly only saw a draft of this article before he died last November. If you are a Royalist you can read some exclusive comments on Princess Anne and the Queen Mother amongst his other stories here!

Our second article was submitted by Keith Franklin of Essex, who writes about his fond memories of being evacuated to Collingham and his subsequent holidays here in the 1940s & 50s. He stayed with the Bococks in what is now Collingham’s chip shop. The faces may be fading but his memories, gossip and fondness for Collingham remain strong.

Anne Akrill has composed a moving article based on her Uncle Bill’s letters to his mother at Potter Hill Farm, Collingham whilst he was training and in his early years as a bomber navigator in WW2. The letters and the article express many emotions, including what was for William and his friends, both the heavy burden of the job they had to do and the sense that it was also a great adventure.

One aspect of The Irregular is the exclusive nature of much that is written by accomplished or promising authors, many of whom have not been published before. If Irregular 4 were a commercial, national publication, this next article might well have “Exclusive” plastered in red on the cover. However, we are more modest than that, so you will just have to turn to page 88! There you will find a clever poem written by Di Slaney, an acclaimed, published and award winning Nottinghamshire poet ( She is also the ‘Poet in Residence’ for Nottinghamshire Local History Association, through which she announced a competitive opportunity to provide the subject for her first poem in residency. The result was that she chose ourselves and has written the excellent poem on John Barton of Holme, which will be published in her forthcoming anthology. We are proud that it was written for us and first published in Irregular 4. Following this, is a short article by Jeremy Lodge on Holme Church, which identifies the members of John Barton’s family, who are named in the poem.

In yet another exclusive, former firefighter Michael Vaughan gives a first-hand account of the fire in 1989, which led to the demolition of Morton Hall, Swinderby. Morton Hall was the home of the Torr family, which was commandeered by the RAF in 1942 for its Commando School, then by the Home Office in 1958. Jeremy Lodge then contributes another short article; this time on the almost forgotten and colourful author and traveller of the 1920s and beyond, the ‘preposterously hatted’ Rosita Forbes, who was brought up at Morton Hall. This includes an original drawing by Jean Wright.

You may recall the flooding questionnaire that was handed out at a recent meeting. The results of this survey are included in an article written by Tom Burd, which is based on a submission for his ‘A’ level coursework on perceptions on flood risk in Collingham. This is bracketed by Dr Harvey Wood’s rewrite of his essay on his first-hand experience of the flood of 2000, when he lived on the banks of the Trent at ‘The Wharf’ on Carlton Ferry Lane and a brief reminder of some of the other Collingham Floods.

It is strange how compelling and popular it has proven to be, to watch men with (and women without) knobbly knees, digging holes in people’s lawns. We couldn’t get Bernard Cribbins (look for ‘Hole in the Ground’, Bernard Cribbins on YouTube), so instead we have, at great expense, commissioned our Archaeology lead Phil Docherty to write about our recent Test Pits at Vine Farm, The Old Hall in Collingham and The Spinney, Winthorpe.


Can you identify these men? In Irregular 1 we included a picture who, we were told, was William Bacon of local Charge of the Light Brigade fame. We have also been told that the image is of local Methodist missionary Edwin Nicholson. Do you have any family or other photographs which could contribute to this discussion? Also, in Keith Franklin’s article we have a photograph from our archives, of Collingham’s High Street in the 1950s, in the centre of which is a man on a motorbike with a sidecar. On the back is written the name ‘Giggy’. Do you know who Giggy was?

And thank you to Harry Constantine for his illustration!

Irregular 4 is on sale now. Can it match the sales of Irregular 1 but sell out sooner?

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